Rick’s Pro Truck
by Susan Marquez
Rick Estel never planned on getting into the truck accessory business. “My dad worked in the food business,” says Justin Estel, Rick’s son. “My uncle was in the paint business, and somehow he found out about a bumper business that was for sale.” Rick purchased the business, and began selling bumpers to body shops around town. “He was in everybody’s shop, every day. My dad has never met a stranger. He got to know so many people, and the business continued to grow until dad eventually sold it.”
Seeing a need for a truck accessories business, Rick called upon his many contacts and started Rick’s Pro Truck in South Jackson in 1988. Justin says he grew up working for his dad. “When he had the bumper business, I would ride with my grandfather, who was the delivery man, in the summers.” It was a special time for Justin, who enjoyed spending time with his grandfather. What he didn’t realize at the time is that he was getting an education in a business he would one day run.
By the time he reached college, his summers were tied up and he was no longer available to work. “I played baseball in college, and my summers were spent practicing.” When Justin finished college and quit baseball in 2002, he joined his dad’s business. “I knew the business, and I knew trucks, so I was ready.” Justin now serves as the vice president of the company.
As the business grew, Rick decided to expand into Rankin County. “He saw opportunity on Lakeland Drive and purchased land for a new store which opened in 1996.” The Lakeland corridor through Flowood was not nearly as developed as it is today, but Rick could see that there would be significant growth along Lakeland Drive, which would make his business very visible to the traffic passing by each day. He was right. “Flowood grew beyond anyone’s expectations, and the store has been added on to four times since the original store was built in Flowood,” says Justin. A new division of the company, RPT Distributing, was formed, and was located in the back of the Flowood location.
“RPT Distributing is our wholesale company,” explains Rick. “We sell to body shops in several states, mostly to people who don’t buy direct from the manufacturer.” That business grew so much that the company moved to Brandon where they now occupy a 100,000 square foot warehouse.
The newest location of Rick’s Pro Truck is located in Gluckstadt. “We see a growing market there as well,” says Justin. “We only hope that it will one day be as successful as our Rankin County location.”
Rick's Pro Truck sells everything from suspension lifts, bed liners and covers, as well as wheels and tires and just about anything that can be used to customize a truck or van. Justin says the company’s mission has always been to give customers the best customer service and superior products in a timely fashion. “We want to be the best in customer service, with the best products the industry offers. We hand-pick our lines for quality.”
Justin says giving back to the community is important for the company. “We are members of the area Chambers of Commerce, and we participate in various fundraisers.” Most recently Rick’s Pro Truck partnered with Make-a-Wish Foundation to refurbish a young cancer survivor’s 2001 Ford Tundra.
“Live bigger. Be bolder. Make your statement.” That’s the rallying cry of Rick’s Pro Truck. “We love what we do,” says Justin. “We are proud to be a long-time business in Rankin County.”